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The impacts of Covid-19 on the power sector in sub-Saharan Africa

Michael Boulle & Anthony Dane (Change Pathways)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating impacts on economies and societies the world over, in a myriad of ways. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) the spread of the virus has not yet been as prolific as it has in some other parts of the world. However, with large parts of the population living under or close to the poverty line, fragile public health systems, inadequate infrastructure, and limited fiscal space, the region is more vulnerable to the health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic than many other parts of the world. These vulnerabilities are evidenced in the rapidly accelerating infection rates in the region. The power sector has a vital role to play in ensuring the resilience of societies in their response to COVID-19, in driving the recovery of economies and stimulating socio-economic development. Conversely, the impact of COVID-19 on the power sector has implications for the resilience of the sector itself which is dependent on the characteristics of power sectors and is becoming increasingly apparent the world around (RES4Africa, 2020; AU, 2020; Ozili, 2020).